Post by the Husband
” For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”(Colossians 2:1-3)
I will never, ever, take for granted the ability to meet someone face-to-face now that we have faced this pandemic. Just six weeks ago, I had never even heard of the term “social distancing”, and now with most of the nation in some variation of “lock down”, most of us don’t meet “face-to-face” any longer.
In Colossians 2, Paul is writing to those who he never had a chance to meet face-to-face. Yet he was able to communicate to them and encourage them by his letters. He also talked about how he struggled for them — those that he never had a chance to meet.
And as we all sit in our homes, unable to meet others face to face, we are also challenged by God – to be an encouragement to those we cannot physically meet, and more than that, to pray for those whom we may never meet.
He talked about his struggle to so that their hearts be encouraged. Indeed, this is a time when all of us, including the leaders of our countries, the doctors and nurses on the front-line, business people, workers, students, the rich and the poor, all of us – need encouragement. As Christians, we pray that we are all knit together in love.
How can we be “knit” together in love, when we can’t even meet together? Surely he is talking about a spiritual “knitting”. Our lives our interlaced with one another’s because of the love of Christ. As believers we overlap and strengthen one another – supernaturally, by the Holy Spirit in love.
My children have started doing some French knitting recently. It’s very cute to watch! I suspect that they are drawn to it partly because you can take this ball off yarn – with little functional use or aesthetic value in itself, and then do this amazing thing called “knitting” – and the string is patterned in a way that creates a shape, with both form and function.
In a similar way, believers, if separated are merely individual threads, weak and not much to look at and without much use. String in itself has no real function except to be united with other bits of string to create textiles. Once the string is united together in a pattern by the creator, what you have is something useful and beautiful.
Believers by ourselves, are rather pathetic and useless. If we try to reach the world as individuals – sure we may make a tiny bit of impact – perhaps like if I asked you to drape this yarn on your body to function as some sort of top. But when we are united, we are like that thread that becomes an actual piece of clothing – one that has purpose. We are knitted together by the love of God. He unites our hearts together.
So here we are, millions and millions of Christians, sitting in our homes like thousands of pieces of string. Let us pray that God would knit us together – spiritually – so that across this globe, we can be one beautiful garment for the world to see. One fishing net to catch all the fish that our Lord has called us to reach. One body – that is united in love.
Let us pray for one another, and let us not give up meeting together over the internet or telephone. Let us not forget the other pieces of thread all around the world necessary for the work of God, even though we cannot meet face to face.
Note also the use of the word “being” – this is a continual act of knitting. We are not fully united, yet. God is still working on His body. We are all still works in progress.
Finally, this knitted together garment’s purpose in this passage is directed towards something even greater than evangelistic fervour – and that is to “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding” and the “knowledge of God’s mystery — Christ”.
We are called to be united by His love so that we can come to a discover the hidden treasure of wisdom and knowledge – that is Jesus Christ.
But wait a minute – you say (and so does that little voice in my head!) – why does Paul pray and talk about knowing Christ more? Surely in this time of crises we should be praying that we reach the world more?
Because – if we do not know Christ – how can we help others to know Him?
In this time of isolation – God is drawing you to find the hidden treasure. Hidden treasure which requires seeking. There is more to the word of God than you already think you know. There is more beauty in the face of Christ than you have already experienced. There is greater truth than you think you already understand.
So oh Lord help us to seek You in this time. As we adapt to the constantly changing world – as we try to survive financially, emotionally, physically – help us to see that greater than trying to survive a pandemic – there is something more valuable than life itself. Let us not long for “normality” so that we can continue chasing the idols we used to chase. Let us not drown ourselves in the news, in Netflix, or in worries about the future. Let us seek the treasure. Let us realise that all this time we’ve been longing for the wrong things. Give us understanding, give us knowledge of the mystery of God – that is Jesus Christ.
Over to you — what have you found the hardest to be when it comes to social distancing?